OKEECHOBEE- Nutmeg’s won the Business Development award at the 2020 Okeechobee Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year Awards on March 10.
Overall five businesses were honored in five different categories by the chamber, which included Business Development, Leadership, Community, Entrepreneurship, and the MVP Award which was chosen by social media users.
In the Business Development category the Okeechobee Chamber of Commerce was looking to recognize a business or organization that had expanded its market or product and focused on the business of the future in 2020.
In March of last year after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis issued an executive order shutting down in-door dining at restaurants in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, local eateries scrambled to move to an takeout-only model.
In late March 2020 Uber Eats hadn’t yet established a presence in Okeechobee, so Nutmeg’s owner Megan Mattson began delivering food to customers herself, in her own vehicle. Both she and her staff brainstormed other ways to attract customers throughout the shutdown. The store had a gift card roulette for customers, where staff at the restaurant filled out a number of gift cards for different amounts of food and store credit and then randomly placed them in to-go bags.
“We’ve been doing OK so far,” explained Megan to Lake Okeechobee News a month after the shutdown orders began, “but I’m not afraid to switch things up and think outside the box. People really have to make some changes. I don’t think right now you can just put your regular menu out there and just expect that it’s going to be the same.”
One of the more out-of-the-box ideas Megan came up with in the midst of the pandemic was “Toilet Paper Tuesday.” For a short while, as the entire country experienced toilet paper shortages, Nutmeg’s offered a free roll with every order over $25. It was a great combination of a fun idea to attract business and something the people legitimately needed at the time.
“I really appreciate the community,” said Megan after receiving the award. “This is my twentieth year working in restaurants and eighth year of having Nutmeg’s. I got started with no money and just thought that I’d put as much hard work into it as I can and hope it would make up for what I didn’t have in other areas. It’s been great and it’s nice to be recognized.”